Pelosi fails in bid to extend expiring federal eviction moratorium

In a development certain to frustrate the liberal wing of her party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) failed late last week to take action that would extend a federal eviction moratorium set to imminently expire, despite her declared interest in doing so, as the Washington Examiner reports.

While a meeting of the House Rules Committee was convened on Friday to explore the possibility of prolonging protections for renters initially implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pelosi did not summon sufficient support for a floor vote ahead of a planned adjournment for the chamber’s August recess.

Though House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) subsequently brought the matter to the full floor seeking unanimous consent for an extension of renter protections through Oct. 18, the measure failed as a result of objections from Republicans, according to The Hill.

The rush to accomplish some form of extension was spurred at the eleventh hour by the Biden administration’s claim that it had no authority to take unilateral action on the issue, owing to a recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

By a 5-4 margin, the justices recently ruled that the existing eviction moratorium could remain effective through the end of July, but that any further extension required congressional action, as the Examiner noted.

For her part, Pelosi lamented the last-minute nature of the administration’s apparent abdication of responsibility for an extension, saying, “We only learned of this yesterday — not enough time to socialize it within our caucus as well as to build the consensus, especially in a time of COVID.”

The frustration detected from Pelosi was echoed by her fellow Democrats, with Hoyer declaring the whole situation “unfortunate,” and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) labeling it “inconvenient,” according to The Hill.

Even more damning in their criticism of inaction on the proposed extension of the moratorium were progressive Democrats including Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), who set up camp outside the Capitol complex Friday night to show solidarity with those who may face eviction without additional assistance. Bush slammed those who permitted the protections to expire, saying that lawmakers choose to adjourn for vacation “rather than staying to vote to keep people in their homes.”

Subsequently joined at her “campsite” by fellow progressive “Squad” members Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Bush — and similarly-minded liberal legislators — appear unlikely to let the matter drop in the coming weeks, and Pelosi and Hoyer will face increased pressure to take concrete action to appease the party’s far-left base.